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J R Soc Med. 1995 May; 88(5): 251–255.
PMCID: PMC1295193

Sir Richard Francis Burton: explorer, anthropologist, irregular physician.


Travellers to remote areas seem to have a magical aura. Indigenous folk often seek them out asking for medical treatment. It does not matter whether or not the traveller is in fact a doctor. Non-medical travellers have rendered good care, and by so doing ensured the success of their expedition. Nevertheless, there are reservations about 'playing doctor' and many travellers shun the role. Others, however, have purposefully impersonated doctors and capitalized on their medical fraud.

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